Just like keeping a budget helps you manage your money, so keeping a food journal helps you manage your body. But it’s so much more than just writing down what you eat. This isn’t about going all totalitarian on yourself or counting calories. It’s to help you understand yourself, to get a feel for what works or what doesn’t, and how you can best serve your body to find the most satisfaction while benefiting your health at the same time. It’s a weapon, a battle plan that will help you become stronger, freer, and fitter.
-You can structure your food journal any way you’d like, but I find the format below works well. Don’t mind the actual food. It’s merely an example.
-The colours correspond to how light or full you feel. Green = First Gate, Yellow = a little too much, Red = major over stuffing. It can also be a mix, ex. Green/Yellow.
-The time after each meal is the time you complete the meal.
-Sleep is important to keep track of since your health and hence weightless ability has a lot do with how rested and able your body is.
-Some people don’t like to weigh themselves every day, and that is completely understandable. Different things work for different people. However, I like to know my daily weight, always keeping in mind that it will fluctuate, which is why I average it out at the end of the week and trust that number more than the day-to-day fluctuations.
Date: Sun. April 26th, 2015
Breakfast: 1/2cup oatmeal, 1 banana – 11am – Green
Lunch: 1 egg, 1 h. (helping). 1 veggie salad, 1 carrot – 2pm – Green
Dinner: 1 h. lasagna, 1 h. coslaw, 1 granola square – 7pm – Green
Workout: 35 minute full body circuit workout
Activity: 2 hours salsa dancing
Sleep: 7.5 hrs
Weight: ___lb – Green
This is the place to write how you felt during the day. Were you happy? Feeling deprived? Did you feel especially energized and triumphant after not stuffing yourself at dinner, even though your family was having white garlic bread with their lasagna? Pat yourself on the back. Write down your worst fears. Record your victories as well as your struggles.
Three Things to Keep in Mind when Tracking Your Progress:
1. Don’t Lose Hope when It doesn’t Happen Overnight
The process of becoming healthy, both mentally and physically, is going to take weeks, probably months to accomplish, and that is totally normal. It takes time because this isn’t like an instant diet. It’s more involved than simply abstaining from certain foods for a certain amount of time. Rather, it’s about rewiring your brain and changing the way you relate to and think about food. It’s about learning to put the needs of your body first, and being able to distinguish your actual physical needs from the desires of your tongue and damaging habits. It’s about re-prioritizing and creating new, lasting habits that will endure for a lifetime, not just for the next three weeks until your next diet. This journey is going to be difficult and time-consuming, and it’s vital to realize that. But it’s also going to be life-changing and liberating, and it’s worth every minute.
2. Don’t Judge Yourself by a Number
It’s incredibly difficult to step on the scale and not judge yourself. But use this as an opportunity to build up your self-love and confidence, because that is a skill that you will use for the rest of your life. Remember, your brain will believe whatever you tell it. So tell it something good. Look at yourself in the mirror before you step on the scale and tell yourself how much you appreciate yourself, how amazing and unique and incredible you are. And then, no matter what the scale says, after weighing yourself, repeat what you just said, with just as much conviction. As you replace harmful behaviours with beneficial ones, realize that THAT is a win. The scale will catch up. But you have to change your brain before you can change your body, and that takes time. So if you do decide to weigh yourself every day, try not to take that number personally. Let it be a part of your life without ruling your life. Because you are so much more.
3. Don’t Do anything You Know You will Regret
This is a very simple concept, and yet it can miracles if you let it. Here’s the deal. When faced with a compromising situation–instead of immediately throwing away your resolutions and giving in to temptation, stop for a second. Think about how you’re going to feel in ten minutes, in two minutes. Allow yourself to acknowledge the guilt, the frustration, and even self-hate that will be the result of “treating yourself”. Is it really “treating yourself” if it’s going to make you feel awful, disheartened, and physically uncomfortable? You wouldn’t go on a shopping spree and spend $2000 on shoes in one afternoon because you were “treating yourself”, would you? It would be amazing, yes, but you’d regret it as soon as you did it. The consequences are clearly not worth it. And if you would treat your credit card with such care, why not your body, which is invariably much more precious? Let’s stop sabotaging ourselves, stuffing that candy into our mouths as fast as we can to make sure the sugar high reaches us before the guilt does. Be proud of your actions. Stand by them. Realize that peace of mind is better than that piece of cake, every time.
So track your progress. Develop your own tactics. And watch your hard work pay off.